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Calamansi – a Fruit for Health and Enjoyment

Here in the Philippines one of the most used fruits is the little green calamansi. About one inch in diameter it packs a lot of flavor and is utilized in many ways. It contains calcium, phosphorus and potassium and is high in vitamin C.

Calamansi is available year round and is usually seen in its unripened state as a dark green fruit, but if left to ripen it turns a tangerine orange color.

It is used to make beverages, flavoring fish (particularly kinilaw), and used as an added flavoring in cakes, pies, preserves, sauces, and marmalades. It can also be used in soups and teas.

Because of its citrus acid, it is used with tuna to make a ceviche type of entre called kinilaw. The tuna, onions and sliced cucumbers are cured with vinegar, ginger and of course calamansi for that sweet sour citrus taste.

For a cool refreshing drink, calamansi juice makes a great beverage. Mixed with sugar and water it is very good when you’re hot, throat is dry and you do not want a soda and more flavor than just water.

Calamansi is also used to flavor cakes, pies and cookies. It’s is similar to using lemon or lime to add that little extra flavor.

For such a little fruit, it has many other uses. The juice can be used to remove ink stains from cloth and it can be used as a deodorant too.

For medicinal purposes it can be applied to the scalp to reduce dandruff. Crushing it, it can be used as a shcalamansiampoo or the juice applied after shower to reduce itching. For bug mites just rub the fruit on the affected area to reduce swelling and itching.

For nausea and fainting, squeeze the rind and hold to the nose as an inhalant. For coughs and sore throats, warm calamansi tea is a good home remedy. Calamansi juice boiled with water is a good remedy for constipation too.

It is easy to grow at your home or is available at all markets and fruit stands. At the Palengke you will see many children carrying bags of calamansi for sale walking through the market.

24 Responses to “Calamansi – a Fruit for Health and Enjoyment”

  1. Vanessa says:

    At my parents home in Mati never a day that goes by without it with our meals. Can’t eat any fried food without a soy/vinegar and calamansi dip with few sili(chili peppers)to kick it up a notch. You are right, always a remedy for colds , lukewarm with little salt is perfect for itchy throat.

    • I agree about the ithcy throat remedy but the dip ewwwwww hehe

      • Bruce says:

        Banot’s Asawa,
        The Dip I only use to pour over plain rice if there is no sauce or gravy to add. Since I lived in Souther California for many years, I prefer to just chew the little peppers.

        • Tom says:

          I use them in my iced tea and of course on pancit. I love the sauce with fish and also to put on my rice. Also use it in hot tea for my throat. They do occasionally squeeze some for juice for here pretty good stuff. 😎

    • Bruce says:

      Vanessa,
      I comment at home about the soy and vinegar and fried foods. My nieces are Nursing student/grads. They have taken nutrition and learned about causes of medical conditions. With all the High Blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes here in the Philippines, main diet with MSG, salt, and fried foods, less sodium and fried foods would be better for health. They agree as they dip their salted, fried dried fish into the soy.
      for sore throat, my mom always had us gargle with warm salt water.

      • Vanessa says:

        Bruce,

        Dipping fried fish in soy sauce is a big no no in our family. Only vinegar and chili peppers for dried fish. Funny thing is, when i migrated here in the US i rarely eat fried fish/fried meat. It’s either slightly stir-fried meat in olive oil or bake. Very rare cravings, but when i do crave, i have the soy or vinegar dip with chili peppers always handy. As for calamnsi substitute i go with lemon or lime. Calamansi and honey are a good combination and healthy too. I don’t make filipino food with MSG anymore, i found out that it tastes equally the same with or without it. But that’s just me. I bet my family back home still cooks with MSG.

        • Bruce says:

          Vanessa,
          I remember when the Chinese restaurants in America started to drop the MSG usage and would advertise such. I and everyone I knew agreed the taste did not change.
          I banned MSG in our home which was a tough battle with my nieces. Unfortunately when your out, it is used in most places, not to mention packaged snacks, same as the flavored chips and snacks in the States.
          I know one Filipino family where the man of the house will not eat if there is no MSG. I guess he needs that dry taste in his mouth after eating. Maybe he will lose his need for a glass of Tanduay in the evenings.

  2. How about that whole lime / lemon thing in the Philippines, do they understand that they are 2 completely different fruits?!?

    • Bruce says:

      Banot’s Asawa,
      I gave up correcting when they cll the calamansi a “lemon” but when in Davao, do as the Dabawenios…..

    • Vanessa says:

      My love,

      Our wet market do sell lime, looks completely different than calamansi. In my family, we subsitute lemon with lime in kinilaw(ceviche)if it’s available. We like the aroma better. I don’t know about majority of filipinos out there, but in my family we know that a lime and lemon is completely two different fruit. We called lime “SUHA”.

  3. Marvin says:

    We use honey from Baggao much the same way for skin and throat problems. I love Calamansi and honey in beer. I pressure cook chicken and pork with lots of Calamansi sliced in half.

    • Bruce says:

      Marvin,
      As a kid I loved hot milk and honey or even a big spoon of honey for a cough. Using it on the skin… I would not like all the ants using me for a dinner table.
      I will mention to Elena about the calamansi in the pressure cooker. Maybe email me the recipe and I will publish it.

  4. Thanks Dr. Bruce! I didn’t know there were that many uses for Calamansi. Good to know.

    • Bruce says:

      John,
      Glad to assist in your wealth of knowledge. As Dr Bruce says “Take 2 calamansi and call me in the morning.” hahahaha

      • heh, now whats your remedy for 2 many tanduay white and cokes!

        • Bruce says:

          Banot’s Asawa,
          Since I have never been a big drinker, hangovers have not been a problem. In the past I would just drink coffee and take ibuprofen all day. But now my stomach is shot and cannot take them anymore.
          I have heard, the best way to not get a hangover is stay drunk.

  5. Rich says:

    Ok honestly this is the last change haha, i already feel your pain from my new site heh……….. oh wow, i just saw the linkage 🙂 yay for me

    • Bruce says:

      Rich,
      Thanks for the ad on your site and you continued friendship. I hope you do well and do not get burnt out writing. As I have mentioned, at first there is so much new to write about. After a while, unless something happens in your life here, finding things to write about gets more difficult than writing them.

  6. grayspirit says:

    I love those little limes. They go great with a San Miguel light or diet coke!

    • Bruce says:

      Grayspirit,
      I am glad you enjoy them, we miss the calamansi tree we had at our last home. You just needed to go out back and pick what you need. Too bad the house we live now has no room for such a plant.

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